One of the first things I noticed about Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice right off the “bat” was how much I already liked Ben Affleck’s rendition of Bruce Wayne better than Christian Bale’s performance in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Don’t get me wrong, I think Nolan’s Batman movies are THE best comic book cinematic adaptations ever made. However Affleck’s natural charisma allows him to be more debonair with the character, as I believe Bruce Wayne to be. From the look in his eyes when he’s saving those people from the rubble caused by Zod and Superman in the Man of Steel battle to the interaction he has with Diana Prince at Lex Luthor’s shindig. This Bruce Wayne is more layered than the constantly brooding Bale which I found flat.
And speaking of Lex Luthor, with as many faults as everyone has extracted from this movie, hardly anyone has said anything about Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor portrayal. More so than the big fat ugly Martha incident, I found Eisenberg’s Luthor absolutely dreadful. The villain that doesn’t pose a threat is, well pretty much worthless I’d say. And why Eisenberg raised his voice a few octaves to make himself whinier and more annoying than he is naturally continues to baffles me. At least the Mama Martha reveal only takes about 2 to 3 minutes tops and then it’s over. But Jesse Eisenberg is the gift that keeps on giving through the ENTIRE movie. That whole exchange between him and Clark on top of his skyscraper was cringe worthy for me. For the life of me I don’t know why Superman can hear Lois in peril underwater or halfway across the world but he can’t hear his own mother when SHE needs him? For shame Clark, for shame!
What follows the mammoth Martha reveal is one of my favorite parts in the whole movie: Clark and Bruce become friends and the rescue of Martha Kent. I don’t know why I love this so much, but I adore Bruce and Clark’s friendship. They are such polar opposites yet they both truly admire, respect, and trust one another despite their differences. So even though the path the filmmakers chose to get Bats and Supes to be friends is corny, clumsy and rushed, I just like that it finally happened in the cinematic universe. The thing that kills me though is that it didn’t have to be done that way. Even if they would have just chosen different words but kept the same concept still would have worked. This is a key moment in their franchise and the fact that they gracelessly tossed it at us bothers me. But soon after that, when Batman gears up and rescues Martha Kent from Luther’s thugs is my favorite part of the entire movie. The whole segment is pedal to the floor, top notch Bat-Action the likes of which I never grow tired of.
Now comes the part that’s salty sweet for me, the battle with Doomsday. This here’s a menacing and formidable foe mind you, not just some smarmy sociopathic worm. Doomsday is a lean mean killing machine who is hell bent on destruction and has got the raw power to do it! Here we’ve also got Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman in full costume now making her stunning first appearance and impressively holding her own against Mr. Big Bad Slimy Kryptonian Death Monster. But as fantastic as the battle between DC’s coveted trinity against Doomsday is, it does go on a bit long. Especially the part where Lois (played by a passionless Amy Adams) tries to retrieve a Kryptonite spear but gets trapped under water and rubble and has to be rescued (again) by Superman. Is it wrong of me for secretly wishing she wouldn’t have made it out of that?
The entire viewing of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a tradeoff. Are you going to let the movie’s faults outweigh the good parts? It’s all a matter of what the viewer is willing to give and take and what aspects the individual moviegoer deems important. For me, watching a movie is like climbing a ladder. A good film takes me higher and higher to my cinematic utopia with direction, production, acting, script, etc. serving as the ladder’s rungs. But Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice just had too many broken rungs along the way that caused me to fall off. I do occasionally watch it for its eye popping razzle dazzle theatrics. That’s pretty much all it’s good for but it does deliver that quality fairly well.